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Open letter to EP Group Presidents regarding the proposed secret ballot

Open letter to Presidents Schulz, Daul, Swoboda, Verhofstadt, Cohn-Bendit and Harms

Open letter to Presidents Schulz, Daul, Swoboda, Verhofstadt, Cohn-Bendit and Harms

Dear Presidents Schulz and the Presidents of the Political Groups,

For the first time, the European Parliament has the power to accept or reject the agreement reached by the European Council regarding the next Multiannual Financial Framework.

This vote, when it is held, will see the parliament exercising the powers granted to it by the Lisbon Treaty. It is, quite simply, one of the most important votes that the 7th European Parliament will take.

Therefore, it is impossible to believe that the parliament will hold such a vote in secret.

I believe that the deal reached by the council represents a reasonable compromise between different sides, with extra funds for education, research and innovation, such as Horizon 2020, as well as the substantial sums set aside for cross border energy and digital networks (€30bn).

Other MEPs may disagree and wish to vote against the agreement. That is their choice as elected representatives.

However, elected Members must also be able and willing to justify that decision to the people they represent, particularly at the forthcoming European elections. If they wish to reject the position of European leaders then they must be held to account for their action.

Very few parliaments across the EU have a provision for a secret ballot, outside of making appointments. Of course, Rule 169 has been invoked before in the parliament at the request of members of the two largest groups and two of the medium-sized groups. However, I am sure you will agree that there is a significant difference between a procedural matter, and an almost trillion euro budget.

The European Parliament will undermine itself and its drive towards increasing democratic participation and accountability around the world, it if resorts to a secret vote on this matter.

I hope that you will strongly discourage your Members from signing a request for a secret ballot.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Callanan MEP, Chairman of the ECR group in the European Parliament

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